HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon,’ the prequel to ‘Game of Thrones,’ is set 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen and tells the story of the bitter war of succession between two factions of the ruling Targaryen dynasty. ‘House of the Dragon’ is based on certain sections of George R. R. Martin’s 2018 book ‘Fire & Blood,’ which itself is the prequel of Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series, the source material for the main TV show. Toward the end of the pilot episode, titled ‘The Heirs of the Dragon,’ a major revelation is made that fundamentally redefines events of ‘Game of Thrones’ and involves a Valyrian dagger that has become part of the lore. Here is what you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is the Valyrian Dagger the One from Game of Thrones?
Yes, the Valyrian dagger that Viserys I gives Rhaenyra is the one from ‘Game of Thrones.’ It first appears in Season 1 episode 2, titled ‘The Kingsroad.’ A catspaw assassin tries to kill Bran Stark with it but is instead killed by Bran’s direwolf, Summer. Afterward, Bran’s mother. Catelyn, speaks about it to Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrik Cassel, her son Robb, and Theon Greyjoy. The ornate and precious weapon has a hilt made out of dragonbone. They wonder how an ordinary catspaw can afford such a weapon.
The dagger indirectly causes the War of the Five Kings and eventually ends in possession of Petyr Baelish or Littlefinger. In season 7, Samwell Tarly finds an illustration of the dagger in a book about the Long Night.
Petyr gives the dagger to Bran Stark as a gift. But by then, Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven and has little need for the dagger. He gives it to his sister, Arya, who uses it to kill the Night King during the Long Night. In ‘House of the Dragon,’ we learn the dagger belongs to House Targaryen. It has been passed down from the rulers of Westeros to their successors. As Viserys (Paddy Considine) makes Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) his heir, he reveals to her that their ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, didn’t come to Westeros only because of his ambitions. He had prophetic dreams, like Daenys the Dreamer. If Daenys saw the doom of Valyria, Aegon saw the destruction of the world of men. It would begin with a terrible winter originating from the North, which would bring death and darkness with it. Viserys tells his daughter that when that happens, a Targaryen king or queen must occupy the Iron Throne, so they can lead a united Westeros against the cold.
According to Viserys, Aegon called his dream a song of ice and fire. This somewhat explains many of the desperate actions committed by Targaryen kings and their heirs — from King Aegon V trying to hatch dragons and dying in the resulting fire in Summerhall to Rhaegar eloping with Lyanna Stark and causing a rebellion that brings his house down. Viserys urges Rhaenyra to promise him that she will remember what he has told her. Perhaps, when she was dying, this is what Lyanna told her brother when she asked him to promise her. Aegon or Jon Snow is Rhaegar’s child and hence the heir to the Targaryen destiny, even if Aerys II had named Viserys as his heir before his death.
Co-creator and co-showrunner Ryan Condal spoke about the secret shared between the two Targaryens in an interview with Vanity Fair. “I think the ‘Game of Thrones’ nerds were very interested and intrigued and compelled by the secret that Viserys tells Rhaenyra, connecting Aegon with the prophecies that we know about the Long Night and the Others [the White Walkers] and the Night King coming out of the North — and how maybe the Targaryen dynasty was aware of it long before we think they were,” he stated.
Some of the fans apparently said that Condal committed heresy. He assured them that it came from Martin, who serves as the co-creator of the series. Martin told the same outlet that the prophecy would be explained in detail in future books, whenever they are published.
“I don’t want to give too much away, because some of this is going to be in the later books, but this is 200 years before the events of ‘Game of Thrones,’” the author said. “There was no sell-by date on that prophecy. That’s the issue. The Targaryens that know about it are all thinking, Okay, this is going to happen in my lifetime, I have to be prepared! Or, It’s going to happen in my son’s lifetime. Nobody said it’s going to happen 200 years from now. If the Dance of the Dragons had not happened, what would’ve happened to the next generation? What would’ve happened in the generation after that? Yeah, there’s a lot to be unwound there.”